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Dune Life Nature Trail

An easy self-guided hike perfect for the entire family!

Hiking Moderate

1.6 km
20 m
20 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.2 km
Dune Life Nature Trail Map

Just across the road from the Playa Trail, the Dune Life Nature Trail is a moderate one-mile hike with spectacular views along the edge of the dunefield. Set aside at least an hour to complete the loop and bring at least 32 ounces or one liter of water.


What makes this hike great is that it explores an area where the "desert scrub community and the gypsum sand dunes meet and form one of the most diverse ecosystems in the park." Foxes, badgers, and numerous reptiles live in this unique area, though most are nocturnal and tend to avoid people.

The trailhead for this hike is quite small and not suitable for larger vehicles. There is no water, restrooms, or shade available either, so plan accordingly. Several minutes after beginning your hike, you will begin to wander into the snow-white sand dunes - which can be steep at times. There are plenty of views to be had, plus plenty of trailside signs noting the local wildlife.

The Dune Life Nature Trail is blazed with a blue marker and club symbol. Under normal conditions, it is easy to follow; however, the National park Service warms that "if you cannot see the next trail marker because of blowing sand or because the trail marker is knocked down, do not proceed - return to your car." Weather conditions, especially strong winds, has been known to limit visibility to mere feet, and temperature can exceed 100 degrees during the summer months. The NPS also recommends a minimum of 32 ounces or one liter of water for this hike.




Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Dog friendly
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area